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A Roman Polanski film

Directed by Roman Polanski, Carnage is based on a play by Yasmina Reza (The God of Carnage) and stars Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as Nancy and Alan, a pair of affluent New York parents whose young son has severely injured another boy in a playground fight. The victim's parents (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as Penelope and Michael) invite Nancy and Alan round to their house in an attempt to make the peace, but the forced niceties quickly crumble as the two couples descend into bitter attacks of their own. A film that takes place in a single location is naturally going to stand or fall on the quality of its performances and fortunately, all four leads are on terrific form. Reilly is reliably good as the insensitive John (who cheerfully admits to dumping his kid's hamster on the street) and it's a treat to see Winslet (ostensibly contrite but seizing the first opportunity to regain some moral high ground) and Foster (brittle and seething with barely contained righteousness) facing off against one another, though the stand-out is Christoph Waltz, who gets all the best lines as Alan, a sneeringly amoral lawyer who's constantly taking calls from his boss regarding an imminent medical lawsuit (his priceless reaction when something happens to his precious Blackberry is a definite highlight). The script bristles with great dialogue, ensuring that the characters' increasingly fraught interaction is simultaneously darkly funny and utterly excruciating. There's also at least one genuinely shocking but also laugh-out-loud funny moment (at least if you're unfamiliar with the play) that it would be unfair to reveal here. Carnage is an engaging, enjoyable and blackly comic drama that's worth seeing for the terrific performances from all four leads. Courtesy Matthew Turner, View London
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Directed by: 
Roman Polanski
Running Time: 
Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
Screenplay by: 
Roman Polanski, based on the play by Yasmina Reza

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